This irritated my other friend. She thought it was ridiculous to elevate the status of this former relationship. As if having an ex-fiance makes you look less like a loser than just having ex-boyfriends.
What you call someone/something matters, doesn't it?
I have a little confession to make.
Anyway, I got it in my head that we needed wedding bands. In the World of Me, we were already "married in our hearts," therefore we needed wedding bands.
So we bought them, real wedding bands. And engraved them. I don't remember what I put in his, but I remember I insisted mine should be engraved "my kitten" even though it was a pet name he hated.
I worked in a doctor's office in those days and I remember the doctor's wife pointing at my "wedding" ring one day and demanding in a supercilious voice, "What is THAT?"
My explanation that "we were already married in our hearts" HORRIFIED her. She even talked to the doctor about calling my mother (who knew nothing about it). At the time, I thought she was an old-fashioned, nosy, judgmental snob. What business was it of hers anyway?
Fast forward to 2012. People want to redefine marriage to mean whatever, just like I did back in 1976... and it turns out I'm the old-fashioned, nosy, judgmental snob.
For those of us who are in it, marriage is the hardest, most wonderful thing you'll ever do. Choosing to be faithful to someone who has the ability to drive you crazy while simultaneously being your best friend, closest confidant and center of your universe -- is a complicated push-me-away pull-me-close dance that very few master. And even fewer have built up the stamina to endure.
It's costly -- not just financially, but emotionally, and physically too. It costs all your selfishness and self-absorption. It costs time and freedom and getting your own way. And its absolutely worth every sacrifice. But engaging in that struggle and winning (meaning staying married when it gets hard or boring), can be as hard as winning Olympic Gold.
Imagine you are an Olympic athlete who sacrificed everything, trained your butt off, disciplined every area of your life, always keeping that Gold Medal victory in mind. You push your body, heart and soul to win that moment of triumph...
... and then you find out your out-of-shape, lazy, good-for-nothing brother-in-law was given a Gold Medal for showing up.
That's what I did when I wore a wedding band as a teenager. And I think people who want "committed relationships" to be given the same level of privilege as marriage are doing too. It's like you get Olympic Gold just for showing up.
CA state law requires grades to K-12 to teach "respect for marriage and committed relationships."